Axa has hit back claims that niche motorcycle agency Shakespeare was considering moving its account to rival insurer AIG.

Last week Shakespeare said it had held “talks about switching from Axa” but that nothing had been confirmed yet. The underwriting agency said it was looking into the possibility of switching to a panel of insurers that was unlikely to include Axa.

But Axa's personal lines manager Kevin Sinclair said the insurer gave notice to cancel Shakespeare's agency three months ago, not the other way around.

“From our perspective we are focusing on profitability,” said Sinclair. “We cannot continue with something that fails to be profitable over a period of time.

“It was a difficult decision because we have had a long-standing relationship with them.”